PHIL - The Filament Holder

by TheNewHobbyist, published

PHIL - The Filament Holder by TheNewHobbyist Sep 4, 2015

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PHIL is my fully printable universal filament holder. PHIL knows how to hold filament because PHIL is made of filament.

I've included a few design sketches in the upload. I poked around Thingiverse for design inspiration and considered making a few existing designs customizable using OpenSCAD. In the end I decided to make something unique and 100% printed.

I've tested the spool holder with Makerbot ABS, small PLA, large PLA, and various other generic spools. By spreading out or rotating your two PHILs you should be able to accommodate any size spool.

I put some stick on rubber feet on my PHILs because I have a slippery desk. You can also use 3M Command Strips to hold PHIL down if necessary. Lastly, I've included mounting holes for screws on the bottom of PHIL if you'd like a slightly more permanent installation.

Thanks to TBuser for the great pin library I used to make PHIL spin.

Update 9/20/15: I've added the source Trimble SketchUp file for those users with print tolerance issues. Hopefully scaling the spools slightly larger or smaller should help with tightness/looseness issues.

My spools printed on the tight side, but the longer I spun them the easier they turned. Now they spin like matchbox car wheels!


For a two-tone PHIL switch filaments at the following mm layer heights:

  • 0-3 Black
  • 3-10 Red
  • 10-13 Black
  • 13-End Red

After printing snap all the parts together and fill PHIL with filament.

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Jul 27, 2017 - Modified Jul 27, 2017

I've read that many people are having trouble with the wheels spinning freely. I can confirm that this model, when printed properly, WILL SPIN FREELY when trimmed correctly.

Of course, calibration of your printer is important here. I used a FlashForge Dreamer at Hyper quality (0.08mm layers). The high quality may not be so necessary, but it is crucial that your trim the parts thoroughly.

The inserts will snap into the base parts and are immovable there, while the wheels will snap onto these and should spin freely. If they are not spinning well, pull them off (rather easy to do) and trim both the inside of the wheel slot away, as well as the outside of that insert. When trimmed sufficiently, the wheels should spin several revolutions when you flick them with your finger. Hope this helps someone.

Disappointed. the pins are too long so the wheels are 5mm away from the main body. Difficult to print the wheels correctly...and yes my printer is well calibrated.

I would imagine this type of project is the last thing you want to design in a program like TinkerCad, because it doesn't allow you to create perfect circles. Everything is polygonal, and for a project like this, you need perfect circles so they allow the spool to spin smoothly.

Didnt read the comments and had lots of hope for this one. Pins fit perfectly into the base, but the holes for the pins in the wheels are way too big and the wheels dont even hold properly on those pins.

Gotta try the bearing adapter pins for this one, hope this works.
If not, around 5 - 6 hours of print time and material wasted (bearing adapter + pins included), unfortunaly.
But hey, 3D printing is trial and error.

May 8, 2017 - Modified May 8, 2017

Not good. Not efficient...

I also printed one and was disappointed. The wheels would bind up and the spool would get yanked off. I had much better luck with this one: https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:508896

Universal stand-alone filament spool holder (Fully 3D-printable)

One of my wheels would spin, I drilled out the holes a tiny bit to clean them up and they all still did not spin. Just one. Even at that, I could run it on the ground like a kid pushing a car and it would rotate. I thought it would free them up after a bit... Nope I was wrong. It didn't seem to help at all. It was a waste of a print. I don't feel there'd be enough weight from the spool to actually turn it either, even if it had be able to spin more freely.

I don't understand why everyone is having so much problems mine worked perfectly fine first try.

I don't understand why everyone is having so much proems mine worked perfectly fine first try.

I printed this without looking at the comments, it looked promising but it was such a waste. Why would the wheels not have the hole for the pins just on one side?, I notice there's like a fillet inside but why? just make it through and it would have much more stability, just a waste.

Comments deleted.

Dissapointing and wasteful. Wheels do not spin.

Dissapointing and wasteful. Wheels do not spin.

Disappointing and wasteful. Wheels do not spin.

Dissapointing and wasteful. Wheels do not spin.

Nice design, Pins fitted properly. wheels spun. but spool, esp near at end, has too much tension so it'll spring off.

The pins fit way too snug on mine to allow the wheels to spin freely at all. I just drilled the holes out and used spare v-slot wheels I had instead. Also, why is the model such low resolution? Why would you design something that's rounded with such low resolution that the rounded sections are "flat spotted" for lack of a better term? Stupid.

why this this is so collected and liked ??? like others guy who try to print it don't work weel dont spin and play is just affull

very disapointed

Nice looking design but there is to many resistance. the spool spins, the holder rolls stuck

Although cool looking, the design is failed. The spool will fall over :-/

Did you try using 3M strips?

That would certainly help to keep the holders in place, but problem persists when the spool itself gets lighter and eventually falls off.

wish i could've foreseen this before designing something similar to this. On principle, this design does not work without some kind of filament spool retainer.

does not work. printed it because it was small and could print it fairly fast...spool kept falling over

Did not work at all for me. It experienced two problems. First and foremost, the wheels bind up frequently. Second, even with the wheels not bound up any kind of lateral tension will knock the spool over, so unless your printer and your spool are perfectly lined up the printer will end up pulling the spool off of Phil (at least that's what happened to me). All in all it's a good idea, but it still needs a little work.

Wheels do not work with weight.. If you are looking for an actual filament holder, do not print this. Cool design, but a huge waste of time if you want something functional.

Thanks for the heads up almost started printing.

Comments deleted.

Super functional and stylish! I have mine sitting on a silicon place mat (since my desk is glass), and it works perfectly, though I haven't tested it with a near empty roll. Thanks for this!

Printed well but the same problem as other - wheels wouldn't turn properly. They turn great without any weight on them, but with spool, no. Thanks though!

I built one and the wheels couldn't turn properly. It seemed like there was too much friction. I ended up drilling out the holes and sandwiching a 608 skateboard bearing in between two of the base pieces. If you were to ever revisit this model, i would consider that change.

The idea is very good, but didn't work at all! I trying to figure out how to improve this and makes work. I'm planning to install bearings like i see in the remix ones.

Why dont you try puting some tape on the wheels so theres less friction.

Does not work at all. Good idea, but it just does not work in reality.

Apr 19, 2016 - Modified Apr 19, 2016

I read the comments before trying this one; thought I could make it work better with the addition of a base plate to stabilize it. Gave it every chance I could, including smooth rods rather than the plastic pins, hoping I'd be able to come back here with some positive suggestions...but after two days of messing with it I've admitted defeat, it's just too small for a full-size (~1 KG) spool due to the constraints of printing it with the M3D Micro, and the spool-rim support system doesn't work as well as any of the center-spindle setups I've used. Even putting the spools on common shafts, it's too difficult to make all four points of contact with the spool rim bear equal load. Spend your time & filament on making a spool center insert instead. If you must have a desktop solution consider Mark Wheadon's submission; my workbench has an upper shelf which makes it easy to suspend all of my filament spools using easily-made expendable wire coat-hanger loops.

Yap, my first thought :)

Feb 27, 2016 - Modified Feb 27, 2016

Printed this and the 1kg spool rolled off while it was in use and snapped the filament when I started printing another. Too heavy? The wheels turn freely but there seems to be about 4mm clearance between the wheel and the stand which I didn't see in the picture. If the pins were shorter I think they'd bend less with heavier spools? I used 20% infill so perhaps a lot higher for the pins. Or maybe I just need to spray some WD40 on it.

I would also say that they have too much play.

Sweet work, love the fact it is fully printable. Love it.

trying to print the wheels now the 3rd time. Tried 0.2 and 0.1 mm. The overhgang gets stringy in the last layers :( Should I bother to try this or just print a different spool holder? I wanted one that doesn't require ball bearings or massive amounts of filament.

Or you can print it WITH supports and save yourself a ton of time and plastic. Mine came out fine with supports, I made it at .25mm

Feb 8, 2016 - Modified Feb 8, 2016

Makers are not friendly ... We (designers) work for free and we are happy to share our works.
It's YOUR job to check the design and write constructives and respectful comments .
If you think it will not work : DON'T PRINT IT. Just take it or leave it.

Here yes, the weels dont turn and it's not a surprise for me. But finaly, the spool slide so your extruder can pull the filament and the spool turn and YES this design is not perfect but it works with a 1kg spool (I've made one and I'm using it ) AND IT'S ONLY WHAT WE NEED
(put a carpet under ;-)

All the designs need to be improved, why should we share our improvement whith this kind of people ?

Does not move with heavier spools.

I tried this print twice and I suggest printing in pieces or smaller batches as the pins keep jacking up the batch. I tried 2 times with my dremel and didn't work for me. I liked the idea of how compact but will need to try another holder. I like the design and it might work for othersbut just didn't for me.

Badly designed. Still looking for another spool holder. With a full 1kg spool of filament, the spool just falls right off the wheels. Only print this if you have lightweight spools.

it doesn't work. waste of time and filament.

Phil has seen some s**t

Thank you for taking the time to design something useful that everyone might need. Despite all I am reading here, this is a forum and in a forum all are free to express themselves as they see fit. That being said, I can say that whatever failings this design has, you clearly put a lot of thought into it and as time progresses may even be motivated to improve on it based on the feedback of others. Irrespective of the contest outcome, all of us benefit.

Here here!

I have printed it, but I don't like it so much.

-It takes 2,5 hours to print, atleast.
-Why is it so "Low Poly"?
-The wheels don't turn, not because the spools aren't perfectly round, but "plastic on plastic" just doesn't have any grip. The spools are stationairy and the filament spool just slides on the spools.
-The spools have a too steep angle to print on, so some of my printed filament fell inside of the spool I was printing, but that could be the fault of my printer aswell.
-It's stable when the spool is on the holder, but I can blow it over to the side where it doesn't have any ground support. I see that the maker has added holes so you can nail it to a board or something, but that isn't what I prefer.
-The pins are too long for my liking, it could be 2-3mm less.

I have to thank the maker still, because it made me so frustrated, yet inspired, that I have spent my afternoon drawing in CAD a spool holder for myself. Instead, I made a spool stand that takes 80% less of printing time, filament and parts, and I don't see how this could win the competition.

I´ve got same results...

Tried many infills, with support or not, when it had to support 1kg o pla, the wheels got stuck...

Plastic on plastic has a very low friction, so it's easy to make 1kg roll. The loose wheels are unnecessary and should just be fused with the stand to maintain the design and improve the function.

What type of printer you using

Then why didnt you upload your spool holder ?

Sep 27, 2015 - Modified Sep 27, 2015
cipis - in reply to Tommick

I agree. This holder is nice design wise (especially if two colors are used), but after I tried it, I must say it doesnt work for reasons Tommick stated.

Same...looks good - works not :(

I advise an upgrade.

A base with binary that help me to adjust distance between Filament holder. It can be screwed on the Tablet.

This because i can change my forniture of filament and dimension can br change im the time.


instead of using the pins and spools I was able to take 2 smooth rods and will mount the brackets to the top of my prusa i3

At least make the lines tangent... and use a serious CAD program

Does not work as is. Rollers wiggle, looks like pins are too long, it falls apart with heavy roll. Cannot even rotate 1/4 full roll.
Don't waste your time printing this. Find better one.

Well done in winning the competition but this design work well on a full reel once it's empty or near empty the roll wobble and got tendencies to fall on the side. First rules of engineering read the comment.

I think the criticisms are valid; this is just another iteration of an existing (and not very good) spool holder design. I'm not saying it's bad work -- the design is very ... aesthetic.

But it amounts to basically a very attractive square wheel.

Good job on a functional, attractive, and fully printable design!

First rule of the Internet: Don't read the comments.

First rule of engineering read the comment unless you want to boost your ego and not improve your design!

You're kinda right... but this is a free forum with free designs made possible by generous people who take the time to design and share. If you don't like a design... PM him and give him uplifting advise. To wag a finger publicly is just an attempt to boost your own ego by tearing down someone else. Take a deep breath .... this whole life thing is tough but I have faith you'll figure it out.

not really, this is exactly what the comments system is for imo - nobody is tearing down anyones ego, just expressing that it doesn't work as the pictures/description would suggest.

This just in !!!!!!! elmuchacho pwns menneset!!!!!! get shrekt!!!

I personally didn't see the rest of the designs in the competition, but this seems to be a very well thought out and functional design to me.
Definitely not deserving of your harsh and seemingly jealous words.

I personally have no clue how you won.... There are many designs that are way better, mine isn't. But this design i stayed away from because it was very un original. There were about 50 different entries that were exactly the same as yours.

Not just unoriginal, I printed it and it falls apart.. it doesn't make any sense. They should have fully supported the bearings not expected them to hold up heavy spool..

Nice work! I really appreciate a design that is 100% printable.

i print it, and that work bad, the Wheels do not move a smoothly at all...

don't blame other people for your crappy printer calibration :/

It actually just doesn't work.

LOL, my printer print best item, this item is not working like he need to be.


Sep 20, 2015 - Modified Sep 20, 2015

This thing wobbled when I used it to hold up my filament.. I think the rods should have gone through the bearings or something since the weight being pushed towards the end of a plastic shaft is causing unnecessary tension - it worked for a while but ended up knocking over my filament. It's also annoying because I have to line them up and if I'm not careful the bearings just fall off the shaft.. the bearings have to hold the filament out too far from the system and they don't have anything holding them in. Overall a pretty design but only minimally functional.

Excellent work, very nice design!

Thanks for including your working sketches and drawings. My students think you never need to do work things out this way so this will be a great example to show them in class! Congrats on the win!

Comments deleted.

Yeah filament workflow, we sure love saying workflow don't we. I use my debit card in my gas getting workflow.

Sick ass design tho man, and congrats!

You mentioned you poked around for design inspiration, could you put a shout out to those designs that inspired you most on this work?

Hi I love the idea but can you make the separated parts I have mini and I can't fit them all

I just uploaded PHIL split into 3 parts. Pins, stand, and spools. I hope this helps!

Thank you! Much easier for my RepRapPro Fisher. I think I'll mount mine to a block of wood as I've only got two different types of spool at the moment.

Sliding stand for spool
by radus

Really? Sour grapes I think.....

Your design is very well done for sure. The addition of bearings surely makes it run smoothly. In the future I would not chime in on the winners page boasting about how your is better. Congrats and then offering up your solution shows a little more class even when people cant see you.

Yeah I'd have to agree yours is better.

You know what Radus? Instead of being a sore loser and going onto people's design page and complaining, why don't you act like an adult and congrats the winner instead? If you have nothing nice to say, then don't say anything at all.

Yours is actually a lot better! Its BS that you didn't win...... maybe judges didn't actually look through all entries?

I actually like this one better than yours. I can agree on a filament spool guide but why not just print a separate one and mount to this? This one is simpler and i really like that it uses only printed parts, meaning i dont have to run out to buy/order bearings etc.

Really? You could have said something nice like "that's cool" or "nice work!" but instead you come here to say "mine is better than yours"

Yep =) For cool or nice work, this holder need a filament guide feeder...

This is fantastic. Any chance of separating the stl to wheels\sides please.

I just uploaded PHIL split into 3 parts. Pins, stand, and spools. I hope this helps!

Nice job! But allow me a question. What if a Pla spool runs empty? The needed force to unwind the rest, mostly in a small diameter, will be higher than the spool s weight and it will jump off.

Yup. I used a spool holder like this (with bearings). I loved it, because it could accommodate many different spool sizes.

But I only used it once. At the end of the filament the feeder pulled the spool right off the holder and left it dangling.

Now I use a "traditional" peg style with bearings.

I was also considering a lazy susan style holder. My plan was to put a weight on top of the spool to hold it down.

Tape a weight into the center of the spool.

Yeah. I shoved a water bottle in the center of the spool. But alas, I didn't want to mess with that over the long term.

What tool did you use to design Phil?

Sep 18, 2015 - Modified Sep 18, 2015
TheNewHobbyist - in reply to atartanian

I started in OpenSCAD but had a hard time getting the rounded edges I wanted. So I built the final version in SketchUp.

would you mind if we feature your part with our Foldie FFF 3D Printer design when he's ready?

Awesome job. Also, exceptional presentation--great photos, neat animation, and it's always fun to see a sketch showing how it began as just an idea on paper.

Were you able to print without supports?

Yep, PHIL (as well as the handful of prototypes I printed) is designed to be printed without supports.